Caring for Beds and Mattresses
Whether heaped with pillows or minimally spare, beds, mattresses and bedding will stay in top shape with these tips.
- Excerpted from Houseworks, by Cynthia Townley Ewer
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A good night's sleep starts with a good bed. How does yours stack up? Since we spend one-third of our lives in them, beds and mattresses deserve proper care. They'll repay us with a clean, healthy place to sleep.
The Pea Princess' guide to mattress care
While the fairy tale "The Princess and the Pea" was meant to show the delicacy of the true princess, in reality, it showed up her future mother-in-law's housekeeping habits. Keep your castle's bedding in top shape with these tips for mattress care:
Frame it right. Just as our bodies need the support of a good mattress, so mattresses need a proper place to rest. Purchase mattress and box springs as a set to make sure that the two pieces will work together harmoniously. Check the bed frame; larger mattress sizes — queen- or king-sized beds — require center support or full-width slats to span the wider width.
Take a seasonal spin. Unless the manufacturer advises otherwise, rotate mattresses from heel to toe when the seasons change. To rotate, revolve the end of the mattress nearest the headboard toward the foot of the bed, then nudge the mattress back into place on the box springs. Rotating mattresses helps prevent the formation of sleeping "wallows," caused by the same body in the same spot every night.
Flip it. Some mattresses should also be flipped when the seasons change. While pillow-top mattresses should not be flipped, other mattresses wear more evenly when the bottom surface nearest the box spring is flipped over to the top of the bed during a seasonal rotation. Check with your manufacturer for specific recommendations for your model.
Ban bouncing. Kids enjoy bouncing on the bed, but the poor mattresses loathe the practice. Discourage these child gymnasts. Jumping on beds can damage mattresses and box springs, and fracture bed frames.
Use protection. Sweet dreams are the goal, but accidents happen. Protect mattresses from messy mishaps with mattress pads. They'll absorb moisture and spills before they soak through to the mattress.
Suck it up. Regular vacuuming will keep mattresses clean and fresh. Remove all bedding from the mattress, then use the upholstery brush to vacuum the top surface and sides of the mattress. Vacuuming removes dust, skin flakes and the dust mites that feed upon body waste. Vacuum mattresses thoroughly when rotating them seasonally.
Clean stains safely. If a stain does occur, use an upholstery shampoo as directed to remove it. An alternative cleaner, recommended by manufacturers for use on mattresses, is called "dry suds." Create them by placing about 1/4 cup (125ml) of liquid dishwashing detergent in a small mixer bowl. Turn the mixer on, and add a few teaspoons of water, a teaspoon at a time. Stand back! The bowl will quickly fill with foam. Scrape the top layer of foam into a small bowl, and take it to the mattress. Rub the stained area gently with the foam, using a sponge or a soft brush, being sure not to wet the padding beneath. Leave the mattress exposed until it is thoroughly dry before replacing the bedding.
Excerpted from Houseworks, by Cynthia Townley Ewer
Text Copyright © 2006, 2010, Cynthia Townley Ewer, extracts from Houseworks, reproduced with permission from Dorling Kindersley Limited
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